The top ten causes of workplace injuries, such as slips, trips, and falls, and strains from lifting heavy objects are costing U.S. businesses more than $1 billion per week (that’s billion with a B!), according to a new report from Liberty Mutual Insurance.

Disabling workplace injuries cost employers $59 billion per year with the top ten causes making up 89% or $52.93 billion of the total cost burden, the report states.

Obviously, getting these top causes under control could keep employees from getting hurt while saving the company a great deal of money.

The annual report is based on information collected by Liberty Mutual, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and National Academy of Social Insurance on the top causes of the most serious workplace injuries – those that cause employees to miss work for more than five days.

The Top 5

The 2020 Workplace Safety Index names these causes as the top five:

  1. Overexertion involving outside sources, costing $13.98 billion per year and accounting for 23.5% of the overall national burden
  2. Falls on the same level, costing $10.84 billion per year and 18.2% of the burden
  3. Being struck by an object or equipment, costing $6.12 billion per year and 10.3% of the burden.
  4. Falls to a lower level, costing $5.71 billion per year and 9.6% of the burden.
  5. Awkward postures including bending, reaching, twisting, climbing, crawling, etc. costing $4.69 billion per year and 7.9% of the burden

These injury cases account for 69.5% of the total cost burden employers bear.

The Final 5

The remaining five causes, listed below, make up 19.5% of the total cost burden:

  1. Vehicle crashes, costing $3.56 billion per year
  2. Slips or trips without a fall, costing $2.06 billion per year
  3. Repetitive motions involving microtasks, costing $2.05 billion per year
  4. Colliding with objects, costing $2 billion per year
  5. Running equipment or machinery, costing $1.92 billion per year

Causes were ranked by their direct cost to employers based on medical and lost-wage expenses, and for the sake of accuracy, the index is based on data from three years prior, so the 2020 index reflects 2017 data.

In tallying up this list, ergonomic related injuries account for $20.72 billion dollars alone! It is of no surprise that implementing a proactive ergonomics program would be beneficial to not only the employees, but to the bottom line. To learn how to implement an ergonomics program, and more, click here to register for NASP’s Workplace Ergonomics Specialist course.

Register for NASP’s Workplace Ergonomics Specialist Course


About the Author

Jon Knight

Jon Knight leads the NASP Team’s media creation department. He has been involved with workplace safety training since 2017 with a focus on course creation. He also provides video production and voiceovers for NASP content.
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